As the baseball team heads into the season they work to build upon their achievements
“Last year was a rebuilding year,” said infielder Ford Schroeder of the Minnehaha Varsity Baseball team. “We had some mistakes last year, but that’s just fuel to the fire. We’re going to come out firing on all cylinders with the guys we’ve got right now.”
The team went 13-6 in the 2014 season. They showed a consistent performance throughout, never losing to the same team twice, and losing to the eventual state champions by only one run. Four seniors graduated from the team last year, leaving 13 returning players to bring back their experience for the upcoming season. Six of those 13 players will either be sophomores or juniors in the 2015 season.
Both Schroeder and Head coach Scott Glenn are excited about the talent that will continue to be developed in this upcoming season.
“If you look at our team as far as having a high number of starters returning,” said Glenn, “a lot of them are seniors, so we basically have our entire pitching staff back. As a coach,that’s a luxury, because I’m not going to have to start over with a lot of new, young guys. It’s a very experienced team.”
“Nothing will be new compared to last year, I guess, but I think everyone should be a year stronger. Everyone should be, hopefully, a year further progressed, with their baseball skills. It’s exciting for me because I know we have the potential to be a pretty good team. And we have guys that are setting pretty lofty goals, and I think that those are goals that we can attain.”
Schroeder, along with his fellow senior captains, infielder Peter Webster and pitcher/infielder Matthew Ganter, are looking to lead the Redhawks to the state tournament in the 2015 season, having been knocked out in sections last year.
“If we don’t go to the state tournament it’s going to be a bust,” said Schroeder. “We’ve all talked about this, we have really good chemistry, we have really hard workers and we have great underclassmen.”
Glenn is aware of the goals set by the players and looks forward to helping the players realize them.
“I think all of our players have their goals,” said Glenn, “not only for the state tournament, but for the state championship, which is wonderful. Obviously, there are some great teams out there. A lot would have to go our way, to make that happen. I think we have the ability to go back to state, and I think that would be an attainable goal that we can shoot for.”
However, a team can’t just show up and play and expect to win games. The Redhawks know that. They have been having practices at Hit Dawg Academy in Chaska for the past month.
“I think our hitting probably needs to improve,” said Glenn. “Last year we would have been considered a young team, because we were playing primarily with sophomores and juniors. I think this year, my hope is that they’re going to come back stronger. We had probably not as many extra base hits as we could have. We didn’t score as many runs as we probably could have or should have. So I guess that’s one area that we’re going to really focus on.” But the team has areas in which they are strong as well.
“Our team defense last year was very good,” said Glenn, “our pitching was above average that could get a little bit better. And I think it will, with all of our pitchers having another year under their belts.”
Summing it up, Glenn said, “I hope the defense is going to stay where it was last year, because that will keep us in a lot of games, but our pitching will get a little bit better, and i think our hitting must get a little bit better, so we’re gonna focus on the hitting to try to score some more runs.”
And in scoring those few more runs, the Redhawks hope to move past teams they failed to beat last year. Glenn reflected on the 2014 season,
“The winner of our section last year was Blake, they went to the state tournament. They’re going to be just as tough this year. They have a left-handed pitcher who’s one of the top pitchers out there.”
“Our season last year ended to Holy Angels. They actually just got added to our section last year, but they’re a bigger school that has a pretty good baseball program, so that’s going to be another one. And then, of course, there’s always our big rivalry with St. Anthony, who always seems to field a competitive team. I definitely look at those three, but i think we can be competitive with all of them.”
“I guess my goal-setting kind of works as: let’s take our conference first, this will be our first season in the IMAC,” said Glenn. “Last year we got second place in the Tri-metro [conference] after winning the Tri-metro for four straight years. We want to focus on winning our conference, and then we can focus on getting back to state.”